EU Special Representative for the Belgrade-Pristina Dialogue and other Western Balkan regional issues Miroslav Lajčák visited Montenegro on 4 and 5 March, on the final leg of his visit to the Western Balkans.
During his meetings with President Milo Đukanović, Parliament Speaker Aleksa Bečić, Prime Minister Zdravko Krivokapić and Deputy Prime Minister Dritan Abazović, Mr Lajčak underlined that the Western Balkans are the EU’s top priority and that the region’s EU integration is in our shared interest.
He emphasised the EU’s firm engagement in Montenegro, even in difficult times, recalling the extensive COVID-19 assistance, provided on top of pre-accession programmes and the Economic and Investment Plan.
Special Representative Lajčák referred to the high level of public support to Montenegro’s EU bid, encouraging its leadership to deliver on citizens’ expectations and commitments to the EU by meeting outstanding challenges in key problematic areas and showing convincing progress, notably on rule of law. He encouraged his interlocutors to find a way for constructive cohabitation and not let pro-European forces be held hostage by actors who do not share the same EU aims. “Small politics should not derail Montenegro from its EU course and jeopardise its frontrunner positon,” he said.
Mr Lajčák praised Montenegro’s full alignment with EU’s Common Foreign and Security Policy, which he noted demonstrates the country’s commitment to its EU future, and encouraged the government to retain that course.
Referring to the proposed changes to the prosecution laws, Mr Lajčák noted that Montenegro already has the bodies and mechanisms in place and should not reverse the implementation of the judicial reform, but build on the work done to further develop its track-record in the fight against corruption and organised crime. He also underlined the importance of a well-functioning diplomatic service, including in terms of appointing Montenegro’s Ambassador to the EU.
Mr Lajčák also had the opportunity to exchange views with EU Member States Ambassadors and debrief them on his discussions.